Saying goodbye to a warlock

I deleted your warlock in original Destiny on the Xbox the other day.

I had to manage your crowded vault space to do it, or rather I wanted to because I didn’t want to delete your best things, didn’t want to send your virtual body to the grave wearing your nicest suit and jewelry.

I felt nauseous clearing out things, making decisions for you. Which duplicate hand cannon with a slightly different roll do I keep? Which year 1 weapons that can’t be upgraded need to stay as a sort of trophy case? Would you have been ok that all your ugly Sparrow Racing gear is what I chose to have your character wear as I held down X for the last time, holding my breath, clicking “are you sure”?

It’s been years since Destiny 2 came out and all this stuff in D1 is just there gathering virtual dust, preserved just as we abandoned it when we started playing D2. I guess that’s why it feels awful. It’s like walking into a frozen-in-time abandoned house out of a novel, pulling the sheets off the furniture, clouds of dust flying everywhere, and unceremoniously starting to throw half the stuff out. Like throwing away memories.

I screenshotted your loadout and your Destiny Tracker stats. Feels bad deleting a character with so many raid clears.

But it’s just stuff. We weren’t using it. All your accounts are mine now and you’re not alive to care.

So why did I do it when I can’t even bring myself to get rid of your car no one is driving IRL, when I’m nowhere near done my real-life Death Chores? Why hand over your Voidfang Vestments when I have boxes of your real clothing left to donate?

I wouldn’t have done it for myself, wouldn’t have made myself get through it. Just left it on the shelf.

But now I have the chance to show D1 to our friend while it’s still populated and the servers are up. Since no gear carries over between games he may as well use your account and be able to have all the cool weapons and armor when our clan takes him into D1 endgame activities (by which you know I mostly mean Vault of Glass) before he comes over to console for the next D2 expansion.

I say “our friend” but the truth is I hadn’t gotten to know him particularly well until after your death. He was just our dear friend’s husband who we liked but didn’t spend a lot of time with. You didn’t get the chance.

I hope you would have liked the wonder and awe in his voice and would be glad he’ll get to see VoG. I wish we’d gotten to play together. I wish you were here to tell the stories. I wish you could tell him all your favorite Voidwalker builds and pieces of armor; you’re both void mage aficionados across many games. Glass-cannony magic-throwing lore-scholar min-maxing spreadsheet-making sons of bitches. He hasn’t even seen sunsinger self-res yet. Or the zapping devastation of Landfall. So many details that I, as a titan main who only mained a warlock for approximately one DLC (House of Wolves) don’t properly appreciate.

You guys would have so much to talk about, together.

In two nights we made it to the Black Garden. Friend called the vanilla story “disjointed” and I laughed so hard because that’s the thing we always said, everyone says: the Destiny storytelling is garbage but the worldbuilding and art and music and UI and sound design and everything about the feel of playing it is so damn good.

It was like throwing away memories, deleting you, deleting your main, reminding myself that the universe has already deleted you and your charred remnants are in a box on the shelf so this is just your Destiny account catching up.

Except then it felt worth it. I’m glad I did it so he can experience the story from the start but then use your old gear.

Killing memories, to make memories, to honor memories.

He isn’t you and I didn’t think it was you seeing your username. That wasn’t the hard part. Once the deletion was over, once his account was set up, it was fine and didn’t make me sad to see. I was pretty sure it would be fine, but I did it knowing I was going to make myself get used to it even if it didn’t feel fine. That’s the bargain I make; once I commit to the things I do with your old stuff, I don’t go back. People say wait until you feel ready. I can’t always wait. It’d be forever, or rather never.

The voice on comms that isn’t you is enough to remind my brain it’s just the same username, inhabited by a different person. aediapony and omnican one more time, but it’s a different omnican baby warlock who doesn’t know the stories of the treasures he’s inherited sitting in the vault. But who wants to know.

And that’s the thing. I couldn’t have stomached giving your account to just anyone. Would have felt dirty, I guess. Like they wouldn’t appreciate it. Wouldn’t admire you, wouldn’t metaphorically hold your favorite hand cannons lovingly.

But he wants to know everything. Wants to know you through my eyes, hold my hand while we revisit old haunts. I’m crying writing that now, but I haven’t cried while playing D1 yet, though I had the box of tissues at the ready these past few nights.

The first night, I went up to bed, and I grabbed my phone as if to text you to tell you that I had a nice time, that I was so excited to show this beloved game to our beloved friend. This entire experience is only happening the way it is because you’re dead, yet something in my brain still thinks you’re just away and has the hardest time catching up to reality. It’s worst when there’s joy. You always wanted me to be having fun when we had to be apart.

All this and the thing I wanted most was to tell you.

Thirteen months.